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Sunday, January 18, 2004

Still on that poverty article, this got to me:

"Wages and hours are set by the marketplace, and you cannot expect magnanimity from the marketplace. It is the final arbiter from which there is no appeal."

I am no good at the slamming-my-fist-on-the-desk-and-demanding-more-pay-or-I-lead-the-workers-on-strike-the-next-day tactics.

According to my T4 (tax slip for all my earnings in 2003) I am definitely well below the poverty line. If it weren�t for my property management position no trips even to Value Village for me. No new clothes to replace the entire wardrobe I sent to a poor girl in Romania. No eating out even once a month. No occasional book-buying.

And yet, my salary is slightly better than some.

One of my friends here in Vancouver gave up on the office work temp agency (they didn�t provide her with jobs). She went back to Labour Ready, a manual labour temp agency. Now she is packaging frozen waffles.

How can people live (and own a car, smoke, have a computer with internet access and pay rent) on minimum wage?

I am having a hard time on upper lower wages.

I don�t bother with cable TV - heck, I don�t watch TV! I�ve stopped buying books, unless I get something like Friday night�s 13 items for $3. The library has plenty of free things to entertain me. I also do volunteer work where I get movie and concert tickets, as well as dinner. I shop at used clothing stores. Relatives and family friends supply me with food. A tin of soup provides me with two meals. I grow my own parsley. (Scurvey, avast!) I do also buy only the best shampoos, but supermodels have taught me how to prolong my shampoo supplies. I saved money for my trip to Chicago by not indulging my vices for two months prior to the trip.

*****

So the marketplace is the final arbiter from which there is no appeal.

In a discussion on the Spanish courts of the eighteenth century, someone told me that the Spanish had rigid rules but granted many pardons. The English, on the other hand, had more liberal laws, but there were no pardons.

Thus the marketplace resembles the Spanish, in that it strictly adheres to the rules (meeting the bottomline). And it resembles the English in that once everyone is sentenced, the sentences are immutable.

So many more questions, but the answers are not satisfactory. An Otto Dix commentator said that everything in the world revolves around the vagina.

But isn't it that the world revolves around money?

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